RAIN
Creating fertile ground in which great ideas can grow

The beginning of RAIN


In October 2017 the Robotic and Artificial Intelligence in Nuclear (RAIN) programme, founded by eight partner institutions and funded by a £12.2m of Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund investment, began phase one of its three-and-a-half-year journey. It set out to create a vibrant, functional community of researchers, end users, regulators and the supply chain working together to solve real nuclear challenges and demonstrating practical solutions.

RAIN team at the Oxford ‘Big Meet’

Fostering the desire to collaborate and develop trust is essential to make RAIN a success. They currently have around 60 people from the founding research institutions in RAIN and, to date, have met with over 200 representatives from the nuclear community.


When RAIN began, there was a large emphasis upon understanding the ‘nuclear perspective’. That meant being open to questions and validating their assumptions of the importance and priorities of nuclear challenges. That ethos helped them to ensure that the RAIN work would be focused on the appropriate areas and established RAIN as ‘a hub that wants to help’. This mindset has also ensured that the number of collaborators has grown quickly over the life of the hub so far; people want to be involved in what RAIN are doing.

Achievements to date

RAIN Remote Handling demo


RAIN has formed three working groups, each focusing on a different challenge area within the nuclear industry:


1. Remote Handling (RH)

2. Remote Inspection (RI)

3. Safety Case (SC)

In April 2019 an Open Day in Manchester was organised to show RAIN projects in operation to people from across the nuclear industry. There were presentations to update on the programme’s progress to date as well as the next steps.


RACE embodies the RAIN ethos by offering nuclear-relevant experience, an enthusiastic and curious approach and a genuine desire to make the deployment of nuclear robotics the norm. For instance, RACE has helped to bring the TARM platform into a state that can be used within the RAIN community. It offers a great capability to develop control systems for future manipulators. A sub-community has been formed around the CorteX platform to enhance the speed of its development and expand the type of environments it can be used in.


With support from KUKA, the Italian Institute of Technology and in collaboration with the Universities of Manchester and Sheffield, RACE has led the development of the Remote Handling (RH) challenge. Based on the desire to remove human hands from glovebox operations, RACE has demonstrated the capability of interacting with small containers using Virtual Reality and handheld controllers. It’s a simple concept, but much of the skill comes in being able to integrate the many technology types required to create a comfortable user experience.


To maximise the value from the RH demonstration platform, RACE has engaged with many stakeholders including those on the UKAEA Culham site, other nuclear-site end-users and SMEs. This provides a greater chance of harnessing the details of the latest challenges along with the most relevant technology to solve them.

RAIN’s next big event... will be the Remote Handling Challenge Event in January 2020. At this event, they will be showcasing the latest RAIN developments in a set of coordinated and collaborative demonstrations. Details will be shared separately, but for further details please do sign up to the RAIN newsletter via www.rainhub.org.uk.


Creating fertile ground in which great ideas can grow

The beginning of RAIN

In October 2017 the Robotic and Artificial Intelligence in Nuclear (RAIN) programme, founded by eight partner institutions and funded by a £12.2m of Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund investment, began phase one of its three-and-a-half-year journey. It set out to create a vibrant, functional community of researchers, end users, regulators and the supply chain working together to solve real nuclear challenges and demonstrating practical solutions.

RAIN team at the Oxford ‘Big Meet’


Fostering the desire to collaborate and develop trust is essential to make RAIN a success. They currently have around 60 people from the founding research institutions in RAIN and, to date, have met with over 200 representatives from the nuclear community.


When RAIN began, there was a large emphasis upon understanding the ‘nuclear perspective’. That meant being open to questions and validating their assumptions of the importance and priorities of nuclear challenges. That ethos helped them to ensure that the RAIN work would be focused on the appropriate areas and established RAIN as ‘a hub that wants to help’. This mindset has also ensured that the number of collaborators has grown quickly over the life of the hub so far; people want to be involved in what RAIN are doing.

Achievements to date

RAIN has formed three working groups, each focusing on a different challenge area within the nuclear industry:

  1. Remote Handling (RH)
  2. Remote Inspection (RI)
  3. Safety Case (SC)

RAIN held an Open Day in Manchester in April 2019 which was organised to show RAIN kit in operation to people from across the nuclear industry. An update on the programme’s progress to date as well as the next steps were also presented.


RACE embodies the RAIN ethos by offering nuclearrelevant experience, an enthusiastic and curious approach and a genuine desire to make the deployment of nuclear robotics the norm. For instance, RACE has helped to bring the TARM platform into a state that can be used within the RAIN community. It offers a great capability to develop control systems for future manipulators. A sub-community has been formed around the CorteX platform to enhance the speed of its development and expand the type of environments it can be used in.

RAIN Remote Handling demo

With support from KUKA, the Italian Institute of Technology and in collaboration with the universities of Manchester and Sheffield, RACE has led the development of the Remote Handling (RH) challenge. Based on the desire to remove human hands from glovebox operations, RACE has demonstrated the capability of interacting with small containers using Virtual Reality and handheld controllers. It’s a simple concept, but much of the skill comes in being able to integrate the many technology types required to create a comfortable user experience.


To maximise the value from the RH demonstration platform, RACE has engaged with many stakeholders including those on the UKAEA Culham site, other nuclear-site end-users and SMEs. This provides a greater chance of harnessing the details of the latest challenges along with the most relevant technology to solve them.

RAIN’s next big event... will be the Remote Handling Challenge Event in January 2020. At this event, they will be showcasing the latest RAIN developments in a set of coordinated and collaborative demonstrations. Details will be shared separately, but for further details please do sign up to the RAIN newsletter via www.rainhub.org.uk.